updates connected to the book Idylls for a Bare Stage
& to performances of the Idylls
& other initiatives related to the Art of the Poetic Monologue

Monday, May 7, 2012

More Proof in Concept

On the one hand, my intentions with this project are artistic.

On the other, my artistic intentions overall refuse to make a distinction between the work and life - it all has to do with life, daily life as much as anything else, as much as anything highlighted or set off as "work," the art has to be inseparable from living, or what's the point...

Life, daily life, also Lifetime/the Aion, as it was formulated (with reference to Heraclitus) in my book Heraclitean Pride.

This is related to the idea of the idylls being able to be done anywhere;  the work can be done anywhere, suitable for proscenium or the street, in an embrace of the interplay of text, subtext, and context.

text (the work as its written)
subtext (meanings spoken and unspoken, tacit and explicit, while part of the role of performance is to engage and activate certain subtleties, ambivalences, and undercuttings here)
context (where art interacts with life, the surroundings, the moment, with potential to explode the given)

Anyways, Saturday (weekend before last, April 28th) was a wild ride.
That was the wrap up of CruMoPoPerFest in front of Waverly library in Baltimore, and Idylls performers had to contend with a number of truly exciting challenges, among them: threatening rain; loud drumming from the grassy median right across from them, where a local high school marching band raised money by holding buckets out to cars lined up at the traffic light; and, during what was almost a mellow period of the afternoon, a belligerent, incoherent, clearly mentally ill man shouting and trying to interfere with the performances.

Nevertheless, each performer was imperturbable, and even during the loudest part of the drumming, an inner circle of "performer-created performance space" held its own, the audience hanging in there, intent on the proceedings.  The day as a whole had a satisfying sense of rhythm to it.  Proof in concept, thanks to the skills, powers of concentration, and bare-stage presences of Genna Davidson, Sue Struve, and Stephen Mead.

I'll post pics, recordings, vids from the event, when they come in - I think we'll be receiving all three.

There was a phrase that jingled back and forth between Christophe Casamassima (as co-founder of Poetry in Community, one of the organizers of CruMoPoPerFest) and my 12-yr-old daughter, Hero.
(Hero was an active participant, learning beatboxing with Max Bent, and singing pop songs during open mic sessions, including - ! - Kelly Clarkson's treatment of the Nietzsche quote, "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger").   I'll pass along what Christophe repeated back to me by email last week...

This Saturday,

It may not have be
An Ideal environment
But it certainly was
An Idyll environment

So much fun. And sheer anxiety! Hope the actors had fun too.

Derived from street and marketplace theatre in ancient Greece, the idyll form creates its own ideal theatrical space; added to that, recently came across Guy Davenport's statement in his essay collection, Every Force Evolves a Form, that not only was this sort of theatre done in street, agora, and private homes (salons) - but also in what he describes as "wine shops"...  a relevant idea somehow, to keep in mind for another time  - wine and idylls...

As intriguing as Saturday was, the day before - a cold blustery Friday - Genna and I rehearsed her Antigone on the National Mall - this was Genna's intrepid idea, and it was incredibly instructive and favorable of possibility.  We were near the Smithsonian metro stop, in front of the Castle.  She did not perform, but rehearsed, and yet somehow that fact was communicated to passers-by - the issue of subtext and context again.  What were the cues that so unmistakably distinguished performance from rehearsal?  ...for further inquiry, intimately connected with the idylls theory and practice of performance, and spillage of art into life.

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